Student Fellowship Winners: 2004

Hamilton College students compete favorably for some of the nation's most prestigious and competitive national fellowships and scholarships. Here's a summary of the awards received this year, including Hamilton's own very generous Bristol Fellowship.

Beinecke Scholarship

Jaime Volker, Tonawanda, NY

Jaime Volker, a rising senior majoring in classical languages, has been awarded a national Beinecke Scholarship for graduate study in the arts, humanities and social sciences.

The Beinecke Scholarship Program was established in 1971 by the board of directors of the Sperry and Hutchinson Company to honor Edwin, Frederick and Walter Beinecke. The three brothers assumed the leadership of the company in the 1920s and built it from a small enterprise to one with revenues exceeding $350 million by 1970.  The board created an endowment to provide substantial scholarship for the graduate education of students of exceptional promise. Eighteen scholarships were awarded this year.

Thomas J. Watson Fellowship

Jeff Dyer, Milton, MA

Jeff Dyer, a May graduate, has been awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship for 2004-2005.  A music major, Dyer was selected from nearly 1,000 students who applied for the fellowships. Dyer's proposal is titled "The Soul of the Khmer: Music of the Khmer People."  He explains, "The Khmer people (indigenous people of Cambodia) have endured a genocide that killed millions of people and devastated their culture and yet their music remains as one of the main structures of their lives and society." Dyer notes that 90 percent of Cambodian musicians were killed during the Khmer Rouge from 1975 to 1979; he says "if their music is not passed on to a younger generation soon it will become extinct."

With his fellowship, Dyer will learn the music of Khmer, investigate the continuing effects of the Khmer Rouge on musicians and explore and participate in the revitalization of traditional, specifically folk Khmer music. Dyer will learn to play Khmer folk instruments then travel to Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam where he will immerse himself in the culture and music.

William M. Bristol, Jr. Fellowship

Robert Parker, Northfield, MA

Robert Parker, a May graduate, has been awarded the college's prestigious Bristol Fellowship. Parker's project is titled "Calling on the Witch Doctor: Shamanism and Curing Ceremonies."  He intends to study shamanism, "a technique of ecstasy," whereby the shaman can cure illness by traveling into the supernatural. Shamans possess an extensive knowledge of traditional medicines and cures, legends and lore of the culture and the composition of the mind. Parker will study the practice of shamanizing and curing ceremonies among three societies. He will explore how traditional practices can be applied to western treatment of patients and how western society views sickness. He will travel to the Yakutia region in Eastern Russia; the interior rainforests of Suriname in South America; and to modernized communities in Kelantan, Malaysia. Parker hopes to attend medical school after his year of study as a Bristol Fellow.

J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship

Elizabeth Rabe, Dallas, TX

Elizabeth Rabe, of Dallas, and a May graduate, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship. Rabe will pursue a master's of philosophy degree in Caribbean history at the University of the West Indies at St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago. She will research the lives and culture of East Indian indentured laborers to Trinidad during the second half of the 19th century, then write an article to be submitted to a scholarly journal.

Boren Graduate Fellowship

Matt Zeller, Rochester, NY

Matthew Zeller, a May graduate, has been awarded the Boren Graduate Fellowship through the National Security Education Program (NSEP). Zeller will pursue a joint master's degree in public affairs and international relations at Syracuse University's Maxwell School.

The Boren Fellowships are intended to support U.S. graduate students who will pursue the study of languages and cultures deemed critical to U.S. national security and who are motivated by the opportunity to work in the federal government. They enable students to add a significant international dimension to their curricula by encouraging study abroad. As part of Zeller's domestic study he will learn Arabic. During the international component of his fellowship he will study the democratic development of Bahrain, a predominantly Arab-Muslin society in the Middle East.

Zeller, a government major at Hamilton, will conduct his research on the premise that the development of local representative government and institutions is the true measure of the democratic transformation of a society.

Fellowship Winners: